The semi-finalist list for the prestigious James Beard Awards was released, and Mississippi showed up in two different categories.
The list for the 2017 Restaurant and Chef Awards in all categories came out and finalists will be announced at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 1.
Often recalled as the Academy Awards of the food industry, this list brings recognition to restaurants and chefs all across the country.
For Best New Restaurant, Saint Leo in Oxford Mississippi made the cut. Known for their simple and stylish wood-fired pizzas, rotisserie chicken, and seasonal salad, Saint Leo opened up in early 2016.
The establishment is described as a sophisticated yet comfortable, community-focused spot welcoming guests for lunch, dinner and takeout. It has an earthy and modern feel and Guests can choose to sit at inviting booths or at the marble-topped chef’s counter and bar. Established by Oxford resident Emily Blount in collaboration with chef Dan Latham.
In the category for Outstanding Chef, Mississippi stood out doubly.
In Cleveland, Delta Meat Market owner and chef Cole Ellis stood out for his skill.
He and his wife opened the market three years ago as a way to have more family time and give back to the community.
“We started out as a small time craft butcher shop with some grocery items. After having a child this was the idea my wife and I decided to do to kind of get me out of the hustle and bustle of the late nights at a restaurant,” said Ellis.
Over the years they have continued to make relationships with the quaint community of Cleveland, and Ellis hopes to go even further.
“We are trying to do things new and creative to grow our community and really dig in a foothold for a future to make it sustainable,” said Ellis. “My biggest goal is to just be on that list next year and to continue doing great things for the community for generations to come.”
Vishwesh Bhatt at Snackbar in Oxford was nominated. This upscale restaurant mixes French food and Southern cuisine. Bhatt, born and raised in Gujarat, India moved to the states when he was 17, landing first in Austin, Texas.
He went to college in Kentucky and eventually grad school at Ole Miss. As he explored cooking all types of food he eventually found himself at Snackbar.
A full list of the nominees HERE.